Unfortunately, as case numbers of COVID-19 rise throughout America and the rest of the world, the virus continues to indiscriminately claim the lives of the elderly, including some of America’s most talented, aging celebrities.
According to Fox News, this country lost one of the great ones to the pandemic. Country music legend Charley Pride’s publicist announced that the trailblazing artist died as a result of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 86.
There’s a number of reasons why Pride was so well-respected within the industry, but topping that list is the fact that the Mississippi native and son of sharecroppers was country music’s first Black superstar. In that day and age, an African-American country music artist was beyond rare — let alone one who managed to be as successful as Pride.
Aside from winning a cabinet full of prestigious awards for his music, Pride had an astonishing 29 songs that hit the number one spot on the charts. Adding to that, he had no less than 52 top-10 hits in his career, even making it to the coveted ranks of the Grand Ole Opry in 1993.
Fellow country legend Dolly Parton was a dear friend of Pride and mourned his loss in a Twitter post over the weekend in which she expressed her respect and love for Pride and his glass ceiling-shattering working the country music business.
“I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you. Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans,” Parton wrote in a two-part tweet.
Pride stayed active even into his late senior years, even having performed just over a month ago at the Country Music Awards where he accepted the prestigious Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. According to The New York Post, Pride was well-received at the awards show, especially after singing his hit song, “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin.”
The Grammy-winning artist served in the ranks of the U.S. Army and started a career in the smelting business before being signed to RCA records. The rest was history.
Pride’s legacy will live on for generations and his family and close friends can rest easy knowing that he will be fondly remembered as an American music icon and an absolute trailblazer in the industry.